US Election Diary: That sinking feeling; Unbearable choice; Snooze rating

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That sinking feeling

Despite his proud naval heritage, John McCain's presidential campaign may soon encounter choppy waters. Pictures emerged yesterday of the Republican presidential candidate apparently being welcomed aboard a luxury yacht in August 2006 by a convicted conman, Raffaello Follieri. The photographs, taken in Montenegro, show McCain and his future campaign manager Rick Davis shaking hands and exchanging smiles with the now-disgraced Follieri and girlfriend at the time, Anne Hathaway, the actress.

Unbearable choice

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson won't be rushing into the surf to save Sarah Palin if she sees her drowning any time soon. Asked for her thoughts on Palin's "shoot first" attitude to bears in the wild. Anderson, a keen animal-rights campaigner, rolled her eyes and spat out: "I can't stand her. She can suck it!"

Snooze rating

Democrats may hope that McCain, 72, will have a "senior moment" between now and 4 November, but he's confident enough to mock his advancing years. At a forum on civic duty at Columbia University, McCain raised a big laugh while riffing on the opportunity for senior citizens to serve their country. "People are ... more active and vigorous – and I'm here to tell you that's a fact." He then slumped forward and pretended to begin snoring, bringing down the house. As veteran campaigners know, a sense of humour can neutralise the biggest negatives (cf Ronald Reagan's: "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."). It seems McCain's surest route to the White House might be pretending he is fit for the nursing home.